Thursday, May 03, 2007

'Tis the season

for mud to fly and accusations to hurl... for ugly signs to spring up like pimples and trashy campaign cards to be hung indiscriminately on doors that are rarely opened and almost never darkened by registered SPI voters. (I wonder how many of them will end up as trash in the yards and streets? Most, I would wager.) Alas, I am on my way out of town to the Tournament of Champions - had to exercise my franchise during early voting - and will miss the frenzied peak of margarita-fueled campaigning.

O darn.

So I went to the chamber forum and came away mostly convinced that every one of the candidates is qualified, dedicated and capable. So how to choose?

It seems to me the main issue in this year’s election is trust. You vote for someone you hope will make the same decisions you would if you had the time and energy to research all the issues the BOA will face in the next two years. Elections are expensive and it is simply not practical to poll the voters on every issue that comes up, so you elect someone whom you hope will take the time to do the research and make informed decisions.

However, some issues - like big bond issues for big municipal projects - are deemed big enough and important enough to be decided by popular vote. Blue ribbon committees are appointed to advise the aldermen and it is the responsibility of the elected officials to listen to those committee reports and pay close attention to the wishes of the voters. Or ignore them, I guess.

Of course things are never as clear cut or black and white as we might hope. Perhaps proceeding with the municipal building that the town staff and BOA really wanted as opposed to the building that the voters and blue ribbon panel were willing to bless was in fact the wisest and most efficient course of action. I am willing to concede that possibility. But even so, it is also fair to pose the question: Why put the issue up to vote in the first place? Why waste the time of the citizen’s committee if the BOA was going to basically ignore its report? Why allow us to feel like we have a say in how our tax money is spent if we really don’t?

Perhaps the voters in the upcoming election will trust that the aldermommies and alderdaddies they elect really do know what is best -- public sentiment be hanged.

On the other hand, maybe the voters will show that they are fed up with officials on all levels of government who turn a tone-deaf ear to the will of the people.

Either way, the results of this election will reveal a lot about the community in which we live.

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Blogger Sam said...

I sure will be glad when this one is over, Sandy Feet, this was the worst one Ive seen in any small town in my 50 years on this planet. I sure hope the pre-election dogfights don't say much about our community.

Unfortunately they do.

6:35 PM  

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